Ken Ludwig and Jeffrey Hatcher Are 2012 Edgar Award Nominees for Their Mystery Plays

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23 Feb 2012

Donald Sage Mackay as William Gillette in <i>The Game's Afoot</i> at Cleveland Playhouse.
Donald Sage Mackay as William Gillette in The Game's Afoot at Cleveland Playhouse.
Photo by Roger Mastroianni

Mystery Writers of America announced two theatrical titles as nominees for its annual Edgar Awards, honoring the best in mystery, thriller and crime literature and nonfiction across multiple disciplines.

The Edgars are named after American poet and fiction writer Edgar Allan Poe, known for his macabre tales.

In the category of Play, the Edgar nominees are Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club by Jeffrey Hatcher, produced by Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix, AZ; and The Game's Afoot by Ken Ludwig, produced by Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland, OH.

Arizona Theatre Company commissioned and premiered Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club in fall 2011. It is the third ATC commission/premiere in the last six years to be nominated for the Edgar Award following Hatcher's widely produced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 2008 and Steven Dietz's Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which won the Edgar Award in 2006 and has since received dozens of productions internationally.

Hatcher's Sherlock Holmes play is loosely suggested by three Robert Louis Stevenson short stories published in 1878 under the title of "The Suicide Club." Hatcher's play is set on the eve of World War I, where, according to ATC, "in the heart of London, behind the impassive facade of a windowless house, some of Europe's most powerful men gather to play a game. The game is murder and this is The Suicide Club. But the Club has a new member: Sherlock Holmes — brilliant, perceptive, the greatest detective in the English-speaking world. Does Holmes wish to die? Will he have to kill? Can his old friend Dr. Watson save him? Or doesn't Holmes want to be saved?"

Prolific Hatcher's plays include Ten Chimneys, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Ella, Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright (with Eric Simonson), Tuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom), Three Viewings, A Picasso, Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Scotland Road, The Turn of the Screw, the Broadway musical Never Gonna Dance, among many others.

Cleveland Playhouse billed The Game's Afoot this way: "Acclaimed actor of the 1930s, William Gillette, invites his Sherlock Holmes co-stars to his eccentric Connecticut mansion for a Christmas Eve celebration. When one of the guests is murdered, Gillette employs the persona of the master detective he's made famous on the stage." It's a "murder mystery comedy" from the author of Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo and Crazy for You.

The 66th Edgar Awards, to be presented April 26 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, honors the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2011.

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